Reviews for one of the first smartphones with a truly flexible, curved OLED, the recently announced LG G Flex, have just started hitting online. While the first reviews seem to be mixed, the recurring theme seems to be that the curved display and overall hardware experience doesn’t justify the nearly $1000 price tag. Most reviewers describe it as still feeling like a proof of concept, despite mostly decent reviews on the rest of the hardware and software experience. The LG G Flex is still only available Korea, but it will soon be launching in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Europe. Head below to get a taste of what the reviews are saying:
The curve does indeed render the massive handset more manageable and comfortable. And not only did I feel more drawn in when I watched movies or played games, but even small tasks like Web browsing and swiping through photos became more engrossing because of the curved depth of the display.
…If you currently have money to burn, and you’re determined to purchase an (unsubsidized) bowed phone, the Round is the better device. But if the rumors are true and the Flex finds a home with a US carrier, its subsidized price will be significantly cheaper than the Round. Even as a standalone device, the handset will prove satisfactory in its performance and novel in its form factor.
But I wouldn’t tell anyone I know to buy this phone — especially since its current price is in the realm of $940. For all it is and claims to be, there’s nothing practically compelling about the curved screen. The self-healing coating is interesting but limited, as much psychological comfort as actual solution. The G Flex feels like a tech demo, an R&D prototype that was accidentally swapped in a shipping crate with the G2. LG just decided to roll with it, put the G Flex on sale, and see what happens.
As the limited release and premium price tag suggest, LG isn’t seeing the G Flex as setting sales records. Viewed as a precursor to things to come, however, and it gets a whole lot more interesting: there are legitimate usability benefits to a display – perhaps a little smaller – which curves in the same manner that your thumb sweeps, for instance, and the reflections other, flatter phones suffer during video playback become far more noticeable after you’ve used the G Flex a while… It’s tough to get past that huge price, however. Unsubsidized, in Korea the G Flex comes in at the equivalent of around $940;
The LG G Flex is a good phone, but there is no way in h-e-double-hockey sticks that we’d recommend that you go out and purchase a handset that costs more than $900 unless it also gives massages and does the dishes. (We’re still holding out hope that this tech is in the works.) Of course, this is a nascent product category, and LG likely isn’t expecting the phone to be a best-selling device; since all of the research and development for flexible screens isn’t going to pay for itself, we’re not surprised that LG is pricing this type of phone at a premium for now. In some respects, the G Flex is a cross between a status symbol and a proof of concept.
It’s easy for some to dismiss the G Flex as a gimmick… Tack on the significant price tag and the phone seems almost like a one-off hobby project from a company trying to make a splash…. I see it as evidence of a creative resurgence within LG – a reawakening of the bold, innovative spirit that gave us designs like the BL40 and the Optimus G. After being disappointed in the industrial design and software load of the G2, I desperately wanted LG to release something that felt inspired. This is it. The G Flex is what I wish the G2 had been. It flouts convention in a way the LG phones of old did, but it doesn’t go so far afield that it forgets how to be a great smartphone.
With its curved design, flexible chassis and self-healing rear panel, the LG G Flex feels like the future of smartphones today. We also love the fast Snapdragon 800 processor and LG’s new Dual Window multitasking feature, even if it copies Samsung’s Multi Window software. The feature-rich and sharp 13-MP camera is yet another plus, delivering slightly better image quality than the Galaxy Note 3… On the other hand, while the Flex’s screen offers rich colors and excellent viewing angles, it has a relatively low 720p resolution. The audio quality could also be better. We still don’t think LG’s Rear Key design is everyone, but at least the buttons are larger and easier to target on this phone than the G2.